Your dog or cat is at risk for periodontal disease, gingivitis, and other oral health problems if their teeth are not properly cared for. The health of your pet’s teeth determines not just what kind of food they can comfortably eat but also their quality of life. We want to tell you how you can care for your pet’s teeth, and we will cover the differences between caring for a cat’s teeth compared to a dog’s teeth.
Over time, white plaque will form from a combination of minerals and saliva in the mouth. It hardens and creates tartar on the teeth as well as under the gum. This thick, gummy substance can damage your pet’s teeth, and you may not be able to remove it on your own. In fact, it can usually only be fully removed by a professional veterinary cleaning.
You can help limit your pet’s tartar development by giving them healthy tartar prevention treats. These are specially designed foods that fight tartar but won’t completely avoid the problem. You will still need to take your pet for occasional cleaning by the vet.
How quickly can tartar form? It only takes 24 hours after a meal for the minerals from the food to start turning into this destructive substance, according to VCA Hospitals. From there, it can force the gums and teeth to separate, leading to tooth loss over time, which is why it is so important to do something about it early. If you wait until the plaque turns into tartar, you will not be able to get it off. Only a veterinarian can remove it effectively at that point.
You are more likely to see tartar and plaque in dogs than cats since dogs tend to have more saliva. That doesn’t mean that cats don’t have this dental problem, because they do. It just tends to be less severe and less common with them.
The Gingivitis Problem
Gingivitis is an infection of the gums, and it creates swollen, inflamed gums that are sensitive and unhealthy. In cats, you are more likely to see gums that are bright red and that are irritated in a line together. Dogs will usually have large, swollen gums that start to separate from the teeth. With dogs, that means their teeth are more likely to fall out. You will need to pay attention to their gums to ensure they are in good condition. If you hear whining from your pet when they eat or notice that their gums are sensitive, swollen or overly red, then you should consult a veterinarian about what to do.
How common is gingivitis in your pet? Well, with dogs, the rate of gingivitis infection is five to one, when compared to humans. That means you need to be on the lookout for it and do what you can to prevent it.
You may not be able to treat gingivitis effectively on your own once it starts, but there are things you can do to keep gingivitis from starting. You can feed your pet with good quality, healthy food. This kind of food is less likely to irritate their mouth.
You can also brush your pet’s teeth regularly. Your pet probably won’t be very fond of that, but regular brushing is very effective at preventing gingivitis and keeping the gums and teeth healthy for a long time. If you want your pet’s gums and teeth to last, then you will need to take some steps to care for their teeth.
You can also take your pet for regular teeth cleanings. This helps to catch problems early on before they become very serious. It also helps to safeguard their teeth against a variety of oral health issues.
From time to time, poorly maintained pet teeth can suffer from infections. These are caused by bacteria that have gotten into the teeth or gums and that will lead to gum loss, soft teeth, difficulty chewing and other health problems.
What cats, the infection tends to take place alone gums. They don’t have as many problems as dogs do with teeth separating from the gums, so space there tends to stay pretty tight. The infection will start in the gums and make its way to the teeth, creating a variety of problems.
For dogs, the problem tends to be closer to the base of the teeth. A dog’s set of teeth will often be infected from deep under the gums, as separation may have occurred. The infection may be harder to see, since it can be under the gum line.
If you want to keep your pet from experiencing infections, then you need to brush their teeth often. You can use a child’s toothbrush or even one of those infant toothbrushes that fit over your finger. Gently scrub their teeth, making sure to clean the gum line. If you force the toothbrush under the gums, you can cause more separation between teeth and gums, so don’t do that. Leave that kind of cleaning up to a trained veterinarian.
If you don’t want to make your pet sick, then never use human toothpaste on your cat or dog. Your pet may like the taste of it, but there are some ingredients that are not healthy for them in the average toothpaste. You only need to use some water and the toothbrush to effectively clean your pet’s teeth. They might not have minty-fresh breath, but at least their teeth will be clean.
People will commonly have dental cavities if they don’t take care of their teeth, but what about cats and dogs? In most cases, dogs will only get dental cavities rarely. They simply have less acidic saliva, so cavities are not as likely.
For cats, this is practically a nonexistent problem. It is extremely rare for cats to suffer from dental cavities, but it could still happen.
A dental cavity is usually a brown spot on the teeth that is soft and that could be damaged or punctured by hard, crunchy food. If your dog is suffering from a dental cavity, then he could have some difficulty in eating his food and could experience pain while eating.
How Poor Dental Health Affects Your Pets
You might expect that a pet suffering from gum disease, soft teeth, cavities or other dental problems would be unable or unwilling to eat their regular food. That’s usually not an issue for them, as cats and dogs both usually have voracious appetites. You will find that they tend to keep on eating no matter what is wrong with them, in most cases. Your pets will generally learn to swallow their food or eat it in a way that doesn’t hurt their teeth or gums as much. This is something that cats and dogs both have in common, and that means that you will have to look at their mouth for yourself to find out if they have any dental problems.
Your cat and dog are very different, even in the way they experience dental health problems. The solution for them and their dental health is the same, however. You need to pay attention to their eating habits, check their mouth for health issues and keep their teeth clean and healthy. Take them to the vet on a regular basis, ensuring the vet checks their teeth for any problems so that they can be dealt with before they become severe.
Written By Mike Epson: I am an author for Catmania and a few other websites. I love to write about animals because they have an innate ability to always surround you with love no matter what.